MONDAY WITH THE MOST HOLY VIRGIN THEOTOKOS


All-merciful Virgin Theotokos, Mother of compassions and love for mankind, my most beloved hope and aspiration! 0 Mother of the most sweet and most desired Savior, Who exceedeth every love, Jesus Christ, the Lover of mankind and my God, the Light of my darkened soul! I, the exceeding sinful and hopeless one, fall down before thee, to thee I make my prayer, 0 well-spring of compassion, Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Abyss of compassion and Depth of mercies and love for mankind: Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, I painfully cry to thee; have mercy on me who am all in wounds, who have fallen among brutish thieves and who am, alas!, stripped naked of the garment in which the Father clothed me. Wherefore I lie stripped of every good deed, my wounds stinking and festering before my madness. My Mistress, Theotokos, look down on me, I humbly pray thee, with thy merciful eye and despise me not, who am all in darkness, all in filth, all immersed in the mire of passions, terribly fallen and unable to stand. Do thou take pity on me and grant me a helping hand, lift me up out of sinful depths, 0 my Joy! Deliver me from them that surround me; make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save the perishing, cleanse the filthy, raise up the terrible fallen: for thou canst do all things, as thou art the Mother of God Almighty. Pour forth on me the oil of thy compassion and grant me to overflow the wine of compunction, for I have acquired thee as truly the only hope in my life; turn thou not away from me who flee to thee, but behold my grief, 0 Virgin, and the longing of my soul and accept this prayer and save me, 0 thou the Mediatress of my salvation. Amen. 

Fatima and Russia

The great union that Fatima’s message has with Russia has already led many people to contributing in different ways to the expansion of this Marian devotion in this country. The icon of the Mother of God of Fatima that now I show you is a symbol that reinforces the predilection that Our Lady has for Russia. Certainly this love was shown very specially in the appearances of July 13th, 1917 in Fatima (Portugal), and of June, 1929 in Tuy (Spain), in which the Virgin spoke about the future of Russia as drill of mistakes and pursuit to the Church in the XXth century and about its conversion when the Pope consecrated this country to her Immaculate Heart. It serves to remember that because from these appearances million of persons have prayed for Russia during decades, and there has born in the whole world a current of love and prayer towards this country. In this respect the icon can help also to that Russia pays the great debt of gratitude that has with the Virgin of Fatima.

Genesis of the Icon

The idea of realizing this icon began in a trip to Moscow in the year 2000, but only at the end of 2002, when I started working as priest in Russia, the project began to be seriously prepared. First I asked about the project to priests, religious and lay people of Saint Petersburg, who encouraged me to put it into practice.

Fatima and Coimbra

Then, for several months I devoted myself to study Marian iconography and also the diverse representations that until now have been done of the Virgin of Fatima. There are two principal types, which, in fact, were both images that sister Lucia had in the shelf of her room: that of our Lady of Fatima of the “Capelinha” and that of the Manifestation of Maria’s Immaculate Heart in Coimbra. The latter is the one that has more influenced the icon for being, in my opinion, closer to the Marian iconography and because Russia has been devoted to the Immaculate Heart.

Both images have in common the elongated figure of the face and of the image, the white cloths – garment and mantle- Of the Virgin, the Rosary and the ball that hangs from the chest of Saint Mary, symbols that have remained in the icon. Of Coimbra’s image there has been taken the trimming that crosses the mantle, as well as the centrality of the heart surrounded with thorns. Finally, when I already had the well- considered project I wrote to Coimbra’s monastery, to know if sister Lucia liked it. The Prioress of the Monastery answered me sending information and saying to me that I could carry on. 

Ivan Lvovich

In this moment Father Igor Chabanov introduced me to the orthodox Russian iconographer Ivan Lvovich who was ready to realize it and both of us started working on it, with the idea that if the icon liked the catholic priest and the Russian iconographer, we would have obtained our aim.

Since then Ivan Lvovich has studied thoroughly the whole literature on Fatima, has prayed, has had several diseases (they say that a good icon must be purified also by the pain), numerous concrete difficulties of accomplishment have raised and, after two years of work, he has “written” this beautiful icon of the Mother of God of Fatima.

Sister Lucia saw and estimated Fatima’s icon

During this long period of writing of the icon Sister Lucia has received in several occasions photography’s of the evolution of the process. Though the prioress always showed the photography’s to Sister Lucia, then she usually answered me in plural, ” we like it ” and I interpreted with it that in the response Sister Lucia was included and continued forward. Anyhow, to make myself sure that my interpretation was correct after the death of Sister Lucia I wrote to Sister Maria Celina, the prioress of Coimbra, asking: can I say that Sister Lucia liked the icon? The response to this question was yes. Sister Lucia saw and estimated and liked what she saw realized of Fatima’s icon. Pity that she was expiring before being able to see it finished.

A Lady more brilliant than the Sun

It is a big icon capable to preside a Church, in which it is represented Our Lady in the shape of bust, as they are the Marian icons with popular worship in Russia, for example the ones of Vladimir and Kazan.

Together with it, the principal characteristic is that it is an image full of light. The Virgin in Fatima was full of light, of a light, which, as Francisco said, ” is God “. The full of grace is the full of God, and in Fatima it is the full of light: a Lady more brilliant than the Sun. It brings Fatima closer to the theology of the icon. The first icon that every iconographer must paint is that of the Transfiguration, in order that he learns that the Icon must bring the divine world over to men, the God’s light to the earth, the God’s radiance in the white garments of the orthodox transfigured Christ. It is the same thing that happens with the Virgin of Fatima.

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